October 17, 2011


Monsanto collaborates with Cloudant to develop data platform



Monsanto and Cloudant are working together to jointly develop a next generation data integration and visualisation platform based on the Cloudant suite.


Cloudant, leading architects and operators of 'big data' technology and Monsanto, who uses advanced breeding and biotechnology to develop seed and trait technology for farmers, will utilise Cloudant to accelerate genome sequencing data analysis in crops. The company's new discovery platform is based on Cloudant's large scale, complex data storage and analytics platform, BigCouch.


"We enable our customers to store, manage and better analyse big data sets to accelerate their progress," said Alan Hoffman, CEO and co-founder of Cloudant. "Monsanto's biotechnology and genomics R&D is the perfect example of how businesses can best leverage information from massive amounts of data. Working with Monsanto on such vital research in basic science is one of the most gratifying experiences we could hope to be part of and we get to advance big data technology in the process, making it as open, flexible and powerful as possible while research data continues to advance."


The platform will accelerate the rate at which Monsanto analyses next generation genome sequencing data through trait physiology data from the field and greenhouse. This multi scale modelling will enable Monsanto to target the key genetic pathways necessary to increase yield and stress tolerance in corn, soy and other crops. BigCouch will also allow the company to identify additional pipeline gene candidates in order to increase farmer's crop yields in core crops of corn, and soy, while using fewer inputs.


"Monsanto's growing body of data gives us the unprecedented opportunity to build integrated models of yield and other agronomic traits," said Ryan Richt, Monsanto genome integration lead. "The document-oriented nature of the open source BigCouch platform is ideal for computing over this complex and constantly changing body of data. We are building a distributed analysis platform that will automate our genome analysis and discovery efforts."


Monsanto researchers use advanced breeding and biotechnology techniques to develop traits that will benefit farmer customers. Monsanto scientists are learning to read and write this genetic code using a diverse array of high throughput experiments and data.


The Cloudant founders are leaders in managing and rapidly analysing massive amounts of complex, computational data. A recognised innovator in 'big data,' Cloudant created the BigCouch open source software to extend the functionality of Apache CouchDB, the most established NoSQL database technology. Cloudant founders were members of the renowned Large Hadron Collider project at CERN, where they worked with multi petabyte data sets for high energy particle physics research. Collectively frustrated with available tools to manage and analyse massive data sets, Cloudant was born out of the famed Silicon Valley startup incubator Y Combinator in 2008.

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